29 Rockin Outdoor Brands in the Midwest

Photograph courtesy of Adam Kepke

The midwest is the outdoor community’s biggest secret. Quietly, these states have become home to some of the most sought-out outdoor adventuring.  Naturally, it is now home to numerous outdoor brands and companies who started in the place that they loved to play, and are helping others experience the adventures right outside of their homes. These are some of the brands in the midwest that we think are doing awesome things in the outdoor community and have left us impressed.

Lewis N. Clark- Elk Grove Village, IL

Inspired by the great pioneers and expedition leaders, Lewis N. Clark was born out of the desire to represent the resourcefulness and courage found in travelers and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world. They focus on making adventure organized, secure, comfortable, and convenient.


LuminAid- Chicago, IL

LuminAID makes solar phone chargers and lanterns that are long-lasting and easy to pack. LuminAID started in response to the need for a product to assist post-earthquake relief in Haiti. Now, LuminAID continues to serve their community by partnering with disaster relief agencies and by creating new and innovate products for anyone looking for reliable power in the outdoors.


Rome Industries-Peoria, IL

Rome Industries take you back to your camping roots with classic pie irons and campfire cookware. They provide innovative and fun products for outdoor living with an insane level of friendly love that you can only get from a small family business. If you get intense about cast iron waffles, the perfect brat, or cornbread cooking, check out Rome Industries before your next family trip.


RXBAR- Chicago- IL

RXBAR likes to keep it real with a line of protein bars, nut butters, and snacks made with egg whites, dates, nuts, and unique natural flavors that compete with other protein bars without any of the stuff that you don’t like. RX is the snack that tastes good and is honestly good for you.



Dometic- Elkhart, IN

Dometic meets your essential needs on the journey whether you are in an RV, on a boat, or just a lover of the great outdoors. They make products to take care of your outdoor needs like cooking, keeping food fresh, taking care of personal hygiene and maintaining a pleasant temperature. That way, you can explore more, see more and stay away longer. Dometic products is mobile living made easy.


Grizzly Coolers – Decorah, IA

Grizzly Fishing Coolers guarantee adventure for a lifetime with their coolers, drinkware, and drifters that are made for any fishing or water adventures you can dream of. Grizzly also offers custom coolers to make your promotion or branding as cool as it can be.



Winnebago, Inc. – Forest City, IA

The Winnebago name is as iconic as the American Dream, and in the outdoors community, living in a Winnebago pretty much is the dream. Their RVs, trailers, vans, and haulers are durable and trustworthy with notable fuel efficiency. Winnebago values extraordinary experiences as you travel, live, work and play. We like to call Winnebago the Dirtbag Dream Home.


Garmin- Olathe, KS

Garmin creates durable devices such as watches, satellite communicators, and GPS navigators that can go wherever you go and track your precise location along the way.



Brightz- Ottawa Lake, MI

Brightz makes safety sexy with enthusiastic party lights for your bike, and pretty much everything else you could want to cover in lights. They believe that you can never go wrong with a little more light. Be cool and be seen with Brightz’s lights.



Carhartt Inc. – Dearborn, MI

Carhartt made its name as a tough n’ dirty, always sturdy, classic work wear brand. Carhartt is the closest you are going to get to your jacket or pair of overalls being as reliable as family. Founder Hamilton Carhartt believes that when a man wears a Carhartt product, his self-respect is increased. That’s a pretty good bang for your buck. For all your work and play needs, trust Carhartt to take care of you.


Chaco- Rockford, MI

Chaco is best known for their do-anything sandal that is light and breezy but can take you anywhere you want to go. Not only are their shoes fit for the outdoors, but their style reflects a love for nature and a passion for creativity and individuality. Along with adventure-ready sandals, Chacos has expanded to make boots, flip flops, and accessories for your favorite canine.


Joshua Tree Skin Care- Brighton, MI

Joshua Tree makes organic skin care for your active lifestyle. As good as the outdoors are for our minds, it is pretty hard on our bodies: take care of your burnt skin, chapped lips, and cracked heels with products like organic sun screen, salve, lotions, lip balm, eco-soap, and even herbal tea.



Merrell – Rockford, MI

Merrell started out as a custom hiking boot brand and since then have become one of the most trusted brands in the outdoor industry for hiking boots, shoes, sandals, and work boots. They believe in the profound and transformative power of the trail, so they do their part to get your feet out there.



ScentLok- Muskegon, MI

ScentLok is the leading brand in odor-eliminating hunting apparel. They have invested in the science so that you can invest more in the hunt. Founded in 1992, ScentLok has proven to be the best odor-eliminating hunting apparel and footwear available.



Wolverine- Rockford, MI

Wolverine is a work boot brand that has been around for a long while. They like to say that they aren’t good because they’re old, but that they are old because they stayed good. When you look at their boots, it’s fairly easy to see why: built with comfort endurance, and tailored for your needs, Wolverine Boots are engineered to last as long as you do.



Duluth Pack- Duluth, MN

Often our outdoor gear is crazy and fun, but it trades in class and beauty for functional and visible. Duluth Packs offer the best of both worlds. They make packs, purses, duffels, and briefcases with the durability and reliability you want for your outdoor lifestyle without compromising on the style.



Frost River-Duluth, MN

Frost River believes that the old way is the only way to make a canoe pack. Their packs are made specifically with the durability needed for hauling gear and the toughness needed to last in the deep North Woods. Now they make packs, luggage, and shoulder bags, all without compromising the strength and grit their brand was born with.



Aloe Up- Eden Prairie, MN

Aloe Up Sun and Skin Care Products are aloe vera based, allowing their sun care, skin care, and lip care better help your skin with its magically moisturizing power.




Minnetonka-Minneapolis, MN

Minnetonka makes the moccasins that everyone knows and loves plus so much more. Marked by innovation and the desire to express their unique personality, Minnetonka designs sandals, boots, classic moccasins, and driving moccasins that guarentee that one of their unique shoes will meet your style.



midwestMidwest Mountaineering—Minneapolis, MN
Alright, maybe when the word Mountaineering gets thrown out there, Midwest isn’t exactly the first-word association you think of. But the good folks at Midwest Mountaineering are looking to change that way of thought, and with their unique grassroots history and long product line of outdoor gear, they’re doing a pretty good job of it. Midwest Mountaineeringbegan selling homemade climbing gear over 40 years ago and if climbing isn’t your thing, then Midwest Mountaineering has you covered in other departments including paddling and winter sports.


Vasque Footwear-Red Wing, MN

We live for the stories of outdoor legends who have been hiking our neck of the woods for longer than we can fathom. Vasque footwear is one of the trail gurus of trail footwear, roaming and creating since 1964. Their team is made of hikers, packers, and campers who live for the outdoors and make their living perfecting hiking boots.



houseThe House—Saint Paul, MN
The House doesn’t just sell outdoor gear; they fuel the passion behind it. With over 200,000 square feet of showroom space stocked full of gear ranging from Wakeboards, Skis, and every type of non-motorized Bicycle you can think of, The House has credited itself as a one-stop shop for every adventure item you may need. And with the central location of Saint Paul not only can you find all of this gear conveniently located, but you’re not a stone throw away from all the play areas to give the gear a good testing ground.


RAVE Sports- Saint Paul, MN

Rave Sports is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: they make equipment for the most fun and extreme water sports like water trampolines, paddle boards, tubes and more. Essentially, if you are planning a party on the lake RAVE Sports is the place to go. And for you winter-lovers, check out their inflatable backyard ice rink.



Granite Gear- Two Harbours, MN

Granite Gear is built on the phrase: “Go where you gotta go”. With backpacking packs, drysacks, duffels, and canoeing packs, their gear is what you need to do just that. They make innovative gear that is fitted exactly for your outdoor lifestyle. Tried and trued in the Boundary Waters, Granite Gear is rock solid.


Wenonah Canoe, Inc.- Winona, MN

Wenonah Canoe believes that if you are lucky enough to be a paddler, you are lucky enough. We believe that you are even luckier if you get to paddle a Wenonah. Handcrafted with passion and dedication, their canoes are the highest quality and continue to reflect the love of the water that started it all.



ALPS Mountaineering-New Haven, MO

ALPS Mountaineering designs pretty much anything you could want as a camper and backpacker. What is cool about this brand is their heart for passing on a love for the outdoors to their kiddos and friends. They want adventuring into the outdoors to be less of a trend and more of a tradition.



Kuat Racks-Springfield, MO

The Kuat Racks Team is comprised of avid cyclists, outdoor enthusiasts, and fine ale drinkers. This motley crew of dreamers and schemers pool together their diverse talents and interests to design lightweight and easy-to-use bike racks that help you get out and do more.



Infinit Nutrition- Cincinnati, OH

Infinit Nutrition was founded by endurance athletes determined to make a sports fuel that can keep up with you. They make custom protein powder blends with a commitment to helping you find the perfect nutrition solution and go hard all day.



Havalon Knives-Cincinnati, OH

Havalon knives has taken up the challenge of creating blades and knives that uniquely fit the needs of outdoorsmen while not compromising on quality.




Contributions by Jaslyn Dalrymple and Brad Lane


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